cybercrime: Business email scam costliest type of US cybercrime in 2021: FBI report

New Delhi: In 2021, America experienced an unprecedented increase in cyber attacks and malicious cyber activity,
shows the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Internet Crime Report 2021.

In 2021, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received 847,376 complaints, a 7% increase from 2020, with potential losses exceeding $6.9 billion.

Ransomware, business email compromise (BEC) schemes, and the criminal use of cryptocurrency were among the top incidents reported in 2021. BEC schemes resulted in 19,954 complaints with an adjusted loss of nearly $2.4 billion.


Graphic: Rahul Awasthi

BEC is a sophisticated scam targeting businesses performing fund transfers. The scam is frequently carried out when a subject compromises legitimate business email accounts through social engineering or computer intrusion techniques to conduct unauthorised transfers of funds.

The IC3 received reports from 20,561 people who had lost $1.45 billion to investment cybercrime.

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It also received reports from 24,299 victims who experienced more than $956 million in losses to confidence fraud or ‘romance scams’. This type of fraud accounted for the third-highest losses reported by victims.

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